Haunted Histories

Happy Halloween kids!  Maybe by the time we reach university one is too mature for bobbing for apples and dressing up like spiderman (yeah right), but no one is ever too old for a ghost story? Right?

Arthur got a chance to visit Archival Assistant Heather Aiton Landry at the Trent Valley Archives for a sampling of local tales and terrors. All stories have come from old local newspaper accounts or from interviews with people who have worked or lived in the buildings mentioned.

Traill College – Scott House 

A woman dressed in blue has been seen in one of the upstairs windows of Scott House. She likes to show up in November when the moon is full. A student once living in the attic woke up one night feeling very warm. When he opened his eyes he saw a woman in a blue dress seated by a fireplace. He thought he must have been dreaming since there was no fireplace in that room and when he shut his eyes and reopened them she had disappeared, because ghosts always do that.

The next morning, he woke to find that he had kicked all of his blankets off in the middle of the night. He walked across the room where he had seen the woman and saw a pile of ashes on the floor and noticed the remnants of an old fireplace in the wall.  It had been bricked up.

In the year 2000, a Trent security officer was doing her rounds when she heard a noise on the third floor. When she called out “Who’s there?” she heard back “Just me” even though there was no one else on that floor. The following year a student reported seeing the lady in blue sitting in a window on the third floor but when she told her friends about it she was informed the third floor was no longer being used as residence and had in fact been boarded up.

According to family lore, the family that once lived in this house had been exposed to tuberculosis. The husband contracted the disease in the fall and became very sick when he was quarantined in the attack. His wife who often wore a blue nurse’s uniform would not leave his side and it is said that she still haunts the area today.

Traill College – Bradburn House 

People have reported that on the third floor you can hear crying children and clanging chains. Students have reported hearing little footsteps on the stairs late at night. The haunting at Bradburn house seems to always be children; sometimes they are even laughing and whistling so they are not always having a terrible time. They might be the ghosts of children from St. Vincent’s orphanage which was housed there during 1909-1956.

The children are not the only presences that have been experienced. In 1957 the building was converted to a Retirement home before it eventually became student residences in the 1980’s. While it was a Retirement home, a resident reported hearing knocks on the door but no one was ever there. Once this happened and he opened the door and a man was standing there. He asked the man what he wanted and he said “nothing” so he shut the door only to find the man now standing in his room.

Club one7two

Club one7two was originally the Canadian Pacific Hotel, then it was the King George Hotel, and then the Purple Rooster. There have been a few reported hauntings there. A ghost of a woman who likes to wear a green dress has been seen in the apartments up top. With one male tenant she liked to appear at the end of his bed and sit there looking at him.

Another time she appeared in the shower stall with him. He looked away and looked back and she had disappeared. In the basement of the Purple Rooster is an old cellar that looks like white-wash caves. One of the previous owners, named Ab, used to have his office down there.

The Home Hardware across Simcoe St used to be a coffee shop, and one day he was crossing the street with his morning coffee and he was hit by a taxi cab and killed. Some have said that this is the ghost that haunts the basement of the Purple Rooster. In his current incarnation, he likes to switch the soft drink lines around on the machines, he interferes with the cash registers and computer systems and the power. They know it is not your average power failure because it is just in this one building.

What they have found fixes the power outage is Labatt 50, since it was Ab’s favourite beer. The club doesn’t sell Labatt 50 but they go out and buy it to appease the ghost. What they will do when the power goes out or something crazy happens is take an open beer down to the basement and leave it where the office used to be and then everything is ok. Apparently it is considered to have been haunted by a lot of people that have owned it or worked there because an exorcism was attempted in the building.

There is a tunnel next to the Rooster where as part of the exorcism process three metal crosses were embedded in the wall. They are still there, but the exorcism didn’t work. Employees still take the beer down to appease the ghost. I have been there recently and the bartender I spoke to had it happen to him.

Our last tour guide was leading a pub crawl in the basement of the Rooster and when he was leaving was hit across the head. He knew he was the last to leave so he ran. I don’t know if I believe in ghosts but he is not the type of guy to lie so …

The Peterborough Armories

The Peterborough Armories was built on the land that was the original cemetery in Peterborough as part of Confederation Park. The burial ground was established in 1819 but by 1850 the town got bigger and started to encroach on that land. So the Little Lake Cemetery and Methodist Cemetery were formed and the bodies were moved to one of those two sites. A lot of graves were missed because the markers had rotted away, inaccurate record-keeping or the families had moved…So they didn’t get everybody.

About 12 years ago, there were some women working in an office of the basement of the armories and they heard strange noises in the drill hall so they left to see what was happening and when they returned to the office they found that their furniture had been rearranged and papers had been thrown all over the room. This happened again and again until they found seven bodies under a parking space right next to the stairway to the armories. Once they did: the hauntings stopped.